MILWAUKIE, OR – Caregivers including certified nursing assistants, phlebotomists, dietary aides and environmental service workers at Providence Milwaukie Hospital voted overwhelmingly to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49 on Thursday, June 14. Nearly 200 Providence employees will now join SEIU Local 49.
The hospital workers cite their desire to provide high quality patient care with adequate staff as the primary reason for forming together as a union in the hospital.
“Forming our union is about us wanting to have adequate staffing,” said Linda Cornelius, a Certified Nursing Assistant. “At the end of the day this is about taking good care of our patients, and we need to be able to advocate for the staffing and resources to be able to care for them.”
Workers also voted to form a union for an opportunity to negotiate more affordable medical benefits, wage increases that keep up with the growing cost of living in the region, and a stronger voice in the workplace.
“I’m glad we have our union now, so we can address the high cost of our insurance,” said Bri Underhill, a Patient Access Representative at the hospital. “A lot of my co-workers put off the care they need because of the cost and end up having to miss work when they get too sick.”
“This is an incredible victory for caregivers who have worked so hard to have a voice in quality care and improve their lives,” said SEIU Local 49 President Meg Niemi. “The 13,000 members of SEIU Local 49 look forward to working with Providence caregivers to make sure they are respected and have their voices heard though the bargaining process and in our communities.”